Students from low-income households suffering during Covid-19 crisis

Nicola Jones on 2 June 2020
Students from low-income households suffering during Covid-19 crisis

We’re into week 10 of the Covid-tracker and we’ve talked a lot about student behaviour, plans and problems. But all students are not created equal. 

The lockdown has thrown inequalities into sharp relief, and heightened existing issues around job security, financial stability and housing to name just a few - but how is this affecting students? Has their family income had an impact on their experience of the crisis, too? Here’s what we learnt this week.

The vast majority (77%) of students from low-income families told us that their household income level had negatively affected their stress levels during lockdown, while 70% said it had negatively affected their anxiety. Just 30% and 25% respectively of students from higher-income backgrounds felt the same. 

More worryingly, half of students from lower-income families said they thought their background had negatively impacted on their education during the crisis. Meanwhile, only a third of higher-income students thought this was the case. 

So what can we learn from this? We know it sounds simplistic, but despite what we’ve may have been implying over the past 10 weeks, students aren’t one homogenous group with one answer for everything. Now is the time to start segmenting your audience and tailoring your messages to your students who are all having very different experiences of lockdown. On the one side, superfast wifi, their own study space and cups of tea on tap. On the other, financial worries, working from the sofa and uncertainty about the future. 

And we’re not just talking about prospective students. This week, we also found out that an unbelievable one in five existing undergraduates are considering deferring next year. So, make sure you’re reaching out to your existing students as well, providing useful content and support, and engaging with them through your online communities, to ensure they still want to come back when this is all over.

For more student insights, the opportunity to ask your own questions and your own institution-specific data to benchmark against national findings, upgrade to the full subscription now.

Nicola  Jones
Nicola Jones on 2 June 2020